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In the United States today, 2.7 million people are abusing drugs. One of the most popular drugs among those abused is marijuana, which is technically known as cannabis, but commonly referred to as pot, weed, and hash, among other names.

Many people, especially teens, experience peer pressure causing them to make bad choices. One of these decisions includes the use of marijuana. People will smoke to ease up pain or stress in their lives or to simply feel the sensation of being high.

What many people fail to realize though, is that like other recreational drugs, smoking marijuana is illegal and should not be used just because it’s easily accessible.

Although many people in the US want Marijuana to be legal, it should not be. Marijuana should stay illegal because it has been proven by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) that it is useful for medical purposes and should be kept that way. Some of the medicinal uses are: AIDs, Cancer, Crohn’s Disease, HIV, Migraine, Spasticity, etc.

The legalization of marijuana use will restrict access to minors similar to age restrictions on alcohol. Putting an age limit to the legalization however, is not enough to prevent the consequences that could occur from the use of marijuana.  Age restrictions on alcohol does not prevent all teenagers from drinking, so restrictions on marijuana will likely have the same effect.

Although it is not necessarily addictive on its own, marijuana is referred to as the gateway drug. It is known to lead to the use of more dangerous and addictive drugs such as cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamines.  The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reported that the younger a person is when he or she begins using marijuana, the more likely it is that he or she will abuse other drugs as she gets older.  If true, once legalized, more teenagers will use marijuana and possibly abuse other drugs.

Marijuana will not only cause more people to become drug addicts, but it will harm their brains, lungs, and hearts. The cannabinoids in marijuana cause parts of the brain to function wrong. After smoking, a person will have trouble remembering what he or she was doing before he or she began. Smoking will also cause a 20-100 percent increase in their heart rate and an increased risk of a heart attack. Smokers will also be more inclined to have respiratory problems due to the amount of smoke that enters their lungs.

While the debate over legalizing marijuana has been on going for a few years, it is clear that keeping marijuana illegal is the best solution for everyone. Legalizing the drug would do nothing but harm our country. More people could become addicts and more people could die. There is no reason for the death toll to rise over the legalization of a drug. So in the end, don’t be under the influence, stay above it.